Subaru Australia is “very, very close” to detailing its all-electric Solterra SUV for the local market, with the brand’s local boss confirming it will only be offered with all-wheel drive here.
Blair Read, managing director for Subaru Australia, told CarExpert at the launch of the new Crosstrek that the Solterra – due in the second half of 2023 – will be “a true Subaru”.
“What I can tell you today is it’s due in half two. We are very, very close to announcing final details on pricing and when we’ll go live with pre-sales,” Mr Read said.
“It will be all-wheel drive only, I can tell you that on spec. It will be a true Subaru – so all-wheel drive only, great ground clearance, X-Mode, so a proper Subaru SUV.”
“We’ll reveal more on spec and pricing, and we’ll make that announcement very soon. We’re getting very close to being able to share all of that information on Solterra with the public,” Mr Read added.
Subaru will exclusively offer the Solterra with a dual-motor electric drivetrain, despite an entry-level single-motor front-wheel drive option being available in other markets.
According to Japanese specifications, the Solterra AWD puts a 80kW/169Nm electric motor on each axle, with system outputs rated at 160kW and 337Nm, hooked up to a 71.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
The maximum AC charge rate is 6.6kW and the maximum DC charge rate is 150kW.
Range varies depending on the wheel and tyre package fitted, with the base model on 18-inch wheels quoting 542km of range and the flagship model on 20-inch wheels quoting 487km – both measured on the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s test cycle.
The Solterra measures 4690mm long, 1860mm wide and 1650mm tall on a 2850mm wheelbase.
That makes it slightly longer and wider than a Forester. Ground clearance is 210mm, or 10mm less than a Forester, while kerb weight ranges between 1930kg and 2020kg.
Previously, Subaru Australia had indicated the all-electric crossover would lob Down Under during the first half of 2023, and since the original announcement has already received thousands of expressions of interest. The company cited supply struggles for the most recent delay.
Subaru and development partner Toyota have run into roadblocks while rolling out their first EVs globally – the Solterra is a twin to Toyota’s upcoming bz4X much like the BRZ is to the GR86 sports car.
A crippling wheel hub bolt issue, which could cause the wheels to fall off, sparked a huge recall campaign and halted production for months – Toyota USA even offered to buy cars back – as the brands scrambled to find a solution.
Toyota Australia is also slated to introduce the bz4X during the second half of 2023, having delayed its first assault on the ever-growing electric car market in Australia by some 12 months.
Both vehicles sit on the co-created e-TNGA electric architecture (dubbed e-Subaru Global Platform by Subaru). Luxury arm Lexus has also put its own spin on this platform, in the form of the new RZ which is launching Down Under this month.
Price positioning is still to be announced for both vehicles, but while Mr Read was fairly vague, Toyota has indicated the bz4X will be a premium offering in the same way the original Prius was when it spearheaded the mass-introduction of hybrid technology in the 2000s.
It’s unclear whether Subaru will follow a similar approach, but CarExpert understands the local division will be targeting a starting price within a stone’s throw of its current Outback SUV flagship – which tops out at $55,990 plus on-road costs for the XT Touring, if you discount the $56,490 50 Years Edition special that was just announced this week.
Should the Solterra start around the $60,000-$65,000 mark, it would undercut key rivals like the Tesla Model Y (from $69,300), as well as the likes of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 (from $72,000) and Kia EV6 (from $72,590). Throw in the dual-motor AWD element, and the price gap widens further for all of those established competitors.
Stay tuned to CarExpert for all the latest Solterra news in the coming months.